I am saying this here so that I remember to do it in the future: let kids read something at least once in the while with no preparation and mark what percent of it they truly understand. Then they won’t have the reaction that two separate groups had for me today: “That was really easy. Can’t you give us something harder?”
On the one hand, I want it to be easy. On the other, I don’t like it when that comes out as a complaint. Of course it’s easy!! It’s supposed to be, now that I have prepped you at great length to understand it!
The first group read the chapter that I’ve been mentioning, with the rep counting and the story-telling about one another. Today they did a fast-write with all those words, and not one of them had any trouble. Then they read. They read so fast that it became a race to see who could go fastest. I didn’t want that. I wanted them to enjoy it! But there’s kind of an issue when they read so fast that they eat up the book (seriously, they read six pages of small text in about five minutes) and then I don’t have any more for them.
Okay. I’ll catch my breath. There’s a lot more prep work to do in the next chapter. First of all, they have to see the artwork and learn a little about the artist, and then we’ll work on the new vocabulary.
Just remembered that I didn’t do the sentence-level Scaffolding Literacy stuff with them. I’ll do that now, as we prepare to read the next chapter. I didn’t pre-tell the story very well. Instead I did all the vocabulary. Next time, I’m going to pre-tell and have them draw. But first I’m going to ask them to take a copy of the chapter and highlight every word they definitely understand as a pre-test.
The other group went through four levels of embedded story. New twist: I shifted tenses with each successive embedding. That was fun…if a bit Machiavelian. But again, they asked me why we’d gone through so much work just to get to read that story. Easy-peasy.
I guess what I’ll do is ask them to do an embedded-picture drawing of it for a retell. That way they’ll have to read it again, consider the details, and add more in. Then they will have to figure out which tense they want to tell it in for their retell. During retell practice, they can let a friend look at the reading to prompt them on any piece they’ve missed.